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Friday, February 29, 2008

Looking at Homes for Sale? Find out how our new tax law will benefit you!

What you should do to receive benefits of Amendment 1

Many buyers we have that are looking at homes for sale in the Tampa Bay area are also looking at how Amendment 1 will benefit them. I hope this will clarify some of your questions and also encourage people who are looking to buy homes.

Citizens voted January 29th to change the property tax system in Florida. To receive
some of the benefits of the changes enacted January 29th, certain citizens must take action
by March 1, 2008.

The Constitutional amendment created four new opportunities for taxpayers to obtain tax

1. Increased homestead exemption to 50,000
2. Portability of “Save our Homes” benefit
3. $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property
4. 10% annual assessment limitation for non-homestead property

What taxpayers must do to receive these new benefits:
1. Increased homestead exemption – Homeowners that are currently receiving the
homestead exemption will automatically receive the increased homestead
exemption. No action is necessary.

2. Portability of “Save our Homes” benefits – If you received the homestead
exemption in 2007 on a home that you sold or otherwise abandoned during 2007
and have purchased a new home by January 1, 2008, you are eligible to take some
or all of the benefit of “Save our Homes” to your new home. In order to receive
this benefit, you must apply by March 1, 2008 to your property appraiser for
your new homestead exemption and for the transfer of the “Save Our Homes”
benefit to your new homestead for 2008.

3. $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property – Tangible personal property
taxes apply only to certain taxpayers in Florida – typically businesses and certain
owners of mobile homes. The tax does not apply to homesteaded property. In
order to receive the $25,000 exemption for tangible personal property, taxpayers
subject to the tax must file a tangible personal property return with their
property appraiser by April 1, 2008.

4. 10% limit on annual assessment increases for non-homestead property – The 10% limitation does not apply until next year. No application is necessary for 2008.

If you have any questions about what action you must take to receive these new benefits,
please contact your local property appraiser. For information on how to contact Florida’s
property appraisers, go to http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/property/appraisers.html.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question? Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

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Prudential Tropical Realty

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seminole Heights Home Tour-Tampa, Fl 2008

To search for homes for sale in Seminole Heights Click Here
to search by zip code enter 33604 and 33603

The 2008 Seminole Heights Home tour starts presale of tickets.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at Sherry's Yesterdaze at 5207 N. Florida Avenue and Tampa Antiquarian Books at 6116 N. Central Avenue.

The day of the Tour, please visit the Seminole Heights Garden Center, at 5810 Central Avenue, to purchase your tickets.

The advanced ticket price is $10 and the day of the Tour, tickets are $12. Please save the date and join us on April 6th 2008 from 11:30a.m. to 5:30pm to see and enjoy our wonderful neighborhood and explore these fantastic homes!

http://www.oldseminoleheights.com/. for more info on the Seminole Heights Home Tour.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Annual Historic Hyde Park Home Tour-Tampa, FL

Looking to buy a home in the Hyde Park Historic District?

This Saturday, the Hyde Park Home Tour will be the perfect venue to not only see the homes on the home tour, but most Realtors that have homes for sale in the area will also be holding open houses.

Why not stroll the streets and take advantage of the opportunity to see what is available for sale?

Here's the information on the home tour. If you would like a list of available homes for sale in Hyde Park just send us an email with your request.

The Sixth Annual Historic Hyde Park Home Tour

Saturday, March 1, 2008 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Tour starts at Kate Jackson Center821 S. Rome Avenue (Rome & Morrison)

Advance tickets are $16 and may be purchased beginning Saturday, February 9th through Friday, February 29th at the following locations:

Garden Party at 2832 S. MacDill Avenue
Casa Nova at 3119 Bay to Bay Boulevard
A Source for the Home in Hyde Park Village
Magnolia at 303 Magnolia Avenue

Blue Moon at 4203 W. El Prado Boulevard Tickets on the day of event are $20, and will be available for sale only at Kate Jackson Community Center.

For more information, or call Barbara Deakin at 251-5399 or Rosemary Henderson at 253-5777.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to
email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Article about how you can save money if you buy NOW-Tampa, Fl

View this Westshore Condo for Sale

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008
Ignore the Headlines
By Dan Kadlec
Correction Appended: February 19, 2008

Famed Money Manager is perhaps best known for his timeless wisdom that you can beat the pros by focusing on stocks of companies where you either work or shop or have some other edge. But a more relevant Lynchism today is this gem: Ignore the headlines.

That's no easy thing. How do you tune out all the chatter and ink on recession, housing, subprime woes, the credit crunch, rogue traders, insolvent bond insurers, $100 oil and nukes in Iran? It's enough to make you sit on your thumbs and wait before making any big moves. But what, exactly, are you waiting for?

There has rarely been a moment in history when you couldn't scare yourself into doing nothing. And yet, as Lynch observed nearly 20 years ago, "in spite of all the great and minor calamities that have occurred ... all the thousands of reasons that the world might be coming to an end--owning stocks has continued to be twice as rewarding as owning bonds."

A top reason to not buy stocks, in Lynch's view, is if you don't already own a home--in which case, that should be your first investment, since an owner-occupied home is nearly always profitable. Through a spokesman, Lynch reaffirmed these views to me--housing debacle and all.

When prices are falling, few people have the discipline to buy stocks, a house, gold, art or any other asset. But those who do pull the trigger excel in the long run. As John D. Rockefeller famously said, "The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets." And the streets are stained crimson.

Start with stocks. They have been pummeled this year. GDP braked sharply last quarter, and there has been plenty of panic about a recession. The Federal Reserve is slashing short-term interest rates at the fastest clip in decades. But if you stick to your steady, diversified plan while everyone else is retreating, you will be happy years from now.

For one thing, Fed rate cuts always lift the economy eventually, and the stock market typically starts responding just as headlines get gloomiest. Sure, the market could fall again before recovering. But the recession may be half over already--or we may avoid one altogether. You just never know.

As for housing, certainly some skepticism is in order. Formerly sizzling markets in Florida, Nevada, Arizona and California probably haven't seen the worst headlines just yet, though they may well be close. And "jumbo" mortgages, those more than $417,000, are likely to remain artificially high for a few more months while banks work through their credit issues.

But let's say you are emotionally ready to be a homeowner. You have good credit, plan to stay put for five years and have been waiting for the perfect entry point. It's time to get serious--before an inevitable rise in interest rates wipes out your advantage. "The thing that will make home prices stop falling is the very same thing that will push mortgage rates higher," says Jim Svinth, chief economist at mortgage firm Lending Tree. So anything you gain by a further drop in prices might be offset by rising financing costs.

Consider a typical home that sells for $218,900. You put down 20% and get a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at today's rate of 5.5%. Monthly principal and interest come to $994.31. Let's say that 12 months from now the same house goes for 10% less, or $197,010. But by then the recession is history and the Fed is jacking up rates to stem inflation. If mortgage costs rise a point, to 6.5%, your monthly payment would be $994.94 and you'd have saved nothing.

Meanwhile, home prices might steady and sellers might become less willing to negotiate. And you have spent a year living someplace you'd rather not be.

It's more complicated if you must sell before you can buy. But that logjam won't persist forever--and if it appears you'll be trapped for a few years, try to refinance at today's lower rates. Risks always seem most acute when the headlines give you ulcers. But that's exactly when you should think long term--and get off your thumbs.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
Feel free to
email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

How to research Crime and Sexual Predators in your neighborhood-Tampa, Fl

Some things we don't want to think about when looking for a new home is "how safe is the neighborhood". If you aren't sure why not find out? With as many homes as there are on the market in Tampa, buyers can be very selective.

If you are relocating from out of state, or just doing some research on your own, you can find the Sexual Predators in a specific neighborhood by searching the FLDE website.

This Neighborhood Search allows users to enter any address in Florida and search the Florida Sexual Offender/Predator Registry for any registered sexual offender or predator living within a 1 to 5 mile radius of the address entered by the user. You can also open a map of the search results by clicking the "Display Results in Map" link

You can also search Crime Statistics in the Tampa Bay area by going to TBO.COM and searching their crime tracker.

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
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email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Understanding Florida's New Tax Laws-Tampa, Fl

Everyone has money on their minds today and one of the ways property owners can save money this year by taking advantage of our property new tax laws.

Here's how you can save whether you are buying, selling or staying put in your own home.


On January 29th, citizens of Florida approved Amendment 1. This property tax amendment has four parts. Below is what you need to know about each provision.

Portability - Allows Florida homeowners to transfer their Save Our Homes CAP to a new homestead. If you had a homestead exemption in Florida in 2007, and are applying for a new homestead exemption for 2008, then you may qualify.

To benefit from portability, an application is required. Click the link below to download the application. To learn more about portability, click the Frequently Asked Questions link below.Portability Application and InstructionsPortability Frequently Asked Questions

Additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption - If you have a homestead exemption, there is no action required on your part to obtain the additional $25,000 homestead exemption. The exemption will be automatically applied to your assessment for 2008. The average savings for most homesteads in Hillsborough County is $250 - $300 depending on the millage rate (which won't be set until September).

Tangible Personal Property Exemption - To qualify and obtain the $25,000 Tangible Personal Property (TPP) exemption, business owners should complete the annual TPP Return and send it to the Property Appraiser's Office by April 1st, 2008. If a taxpayer files a TPP return in 2008, and the assessed value is determined by the Property Appraiser to be less than or equal to $25,000, the taxpayer is not required to file a return in subsequent years unless newly purchased assets cause the total value to exceed $25,000.

10% Assessment CAP for Non-Homestead property - An application is required for the 10% CAP, however, the application has not yet been provided to our office by the Department of Revenue. The CAP will not be effective until 2009, so the deadline to file has been extended to March 1, 2009. Once an application is provided to our office by the Department of Revenue, it will be available on our website.

For more detailed information about Amendment 1, click here for the Department of Revenue website.

see also:

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
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email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rental Market showing signs of growth in Tampa, Fl

Apartment Rents Are On The Rise
By SHANNON BEHNKEN, The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 14, 2008

If you plan to rent an apartment in Tampa Bay area, you soon may have more options, but you'll have to fork over more money in rent, two area apartment builders said Wednesday at the International Builders' Show in Orlando.

"Rent increases will exceed historical averages over the next three to five years," said Steve Patterson, CEO of Zom Inc., an Orlando-based apartment builder with several Bay area projects.

That's because demand is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years, as a nationwide credit crunch makes it more difficult for people with poor credit to qualify for home loans. Also, more homeowners are expected to lose their homes in foreclosure and turn to the rental market instead.

Builders that have concentrated on condominiums in recent years have turned exclusively to apartment building, said Bill Donges, CEO of The Lane Co., based in Atlanta.
"Condos are over," he said. For example, the Watermark, an apartment complex under construction on Kennedy Boulevard near WestShore Plaza, originally was planned as a luxury condominium. Donges said his company now plans to rent the units.

The Lane Co. also has plans to build more apartment complexes in the Tampa Bay area this year, Donges said, noting that he plans to scout potential sites over the next couple of weeks.
"Tampa is a place apartment builders want to be right now," he said.
It hasn't always been that way.

In 2005 and 2006, the Tampa Bay area lost much of its apartment inventory to companies that bought the complexes and sold units off as condos. Since 2001, about 31,000 apartment units were converted to condos in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties, the Cushman & Wakefield real estate firm has estimated. The condo craze took over and apartment building slowed, Patterson said. There weren't enough buyers to absorb all the inventory, though, and many of the units have reverted back to apartments.

Over the past year, rental occupancy rates have fallen from between 96 percent and 98 percent to between 88 percent and 92 percent in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, said Michael Slater, president of Triadd Research & Consulting in Tampa.

As a result, apartment owners have offered concessions such as a month or two of free rent to lure tenants. Rental rate growth declined to between 1 percent and 2 percent in 2006 and 2007, compared with 6 percent to 13 percent in 2005 and 2006, Slater said.

Because of the slower apartment construction, there won't be enough units to meet the demand over the next several years, unless builders start building more apartments soon, the builders said in Orlando.

In the Tampa Bay area, that is expected to happen this year; 18 apartment projects are under construction or planned to break ground soon, Slater said. At the Builders' Show in Orlando on Tuesday, three of the nation's prominent economists gave their views of the building industry.

David Seiders, chief economist with the National Association of Home Builders, which hosts the annual Builders' Show, said the stimulus package approved by Congress will spur some growth in the economy but won't go far enough.

What's needed, he said, is tax credit to stimulate home buying.
Interest rates are at a 2 1/2 -year low and are expected to dip more this year. This is intended to encourage potential homeowners to buy, but that may be offset by credit tightening in the lending industry, said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for Freddie Mac. "If you qualify and you are a prime borrower wanting a conforming loan, and you can make a down payment, it's a great time to buy," he said. "But those are big ifs."

The economists differed somewhat on projections for the coming year, but generally agreed the housing slowdown will continue until at least the third quarter. Prices are expected to continue falling across the nation and it will be difficult to sell homes.

David Berson, chief economist for The PMI Group, said he thinks the county fell into recession in early December, though some economists don't think recession has happened yet. He said delinquencies and defaults are expected to rise and will keep the market from turning around until 2009. "A lot of homeowners who purchased in recent years are under water. They owe more than their homes are worth," he said.

Reporter Shannon Behnken can be reached at (813) 259-7804 or sbehnken@tampatrib.com.

Find this article at: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/feb/14/bz-apartment-rents-are-on-the-rise

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?
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email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Downtown Tampa News Update

Photo by:
by joerosh1675

Hello Everyone,

I subscribe to http://www.tampasdowntown.com/
which is a site focused on Living in Downtown Tampa and what's new.

If you are looking to relocate or just
want to know what's going on in Downtown Tampa you can register to receive updates on their website.

Here's the latest update that I thought you would enjoy.

Seeing is Believing

What do you think is cool about downtown Tampa? What do you wish more people knew about the urban core? Do you know about a hidden niche that needs some exposure? The Partnership launched last October http://www.hilifetampa.com/. This Web site is designed to inform viewers about the advantages of downtown Tampa. But not everything that’s cool about the city center is on the site. Therefore the Partnership is beginning to collect ideas for the next step in HiLife Tampa, which is HiLife TV. Find out how you can submit your ideas and suggestions by clicking here.

Soon, downtown Tampa will add another great coffee house to its growing list. Indigo Coffee is nearing completion of the build out of its first store, which will be located at 514 N. Franklin Street. Next time you are in the area take a look inside through the windows. The store is sure to be a hit.

Speaking of new restaurants, Bamboozle, a new Vietnamese fusion restaurant is just beginning its build out. The restaurant is opening at 514 N. Tampa Street. No announcement on when the restaurant will actually open, but this style cuisine is one that has not been served in downtown Tampa yet.

Some believed it would never happen, but demolition of the old Tampa Museum of Art is in full swing. Started last Thursday (1/31) the removal of the underground parking garage is well underway. The building itself will soon begin to be dismantled. Curtis Hixon Park is also beginning to be demolished. Learn about what’s to come. Here are a few links to help you become familiar with how this part of downtown will be reshaped for everyone’s future enjoyment:

New Tampa Museum of Art, click here
New Curtis Hixon Park, click here
New Glazer Children’s Museum, click here

The projects listed above are not the only new public projects under construction. The Tampa Bay History Center is progressing nicely as construction continues of its new facility near the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Tampa Bay History Center is a unique project for several reasons. One in particular is that the building will be a LEED certified green building when completed.

see also:
What to know about relocating to the Tampa Bay Area
Relocation resources
Tampa Relocation Guide
Downtown Tampa Condos and Lofts

Thinking about buying or selling real estate in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question?

Feel free to
email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS- Historical Neighborhood Real Estate Market Update

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS- Historical Neighborhood Real Estate Market Update- Tampa, Fl
Are you relocating and looking for something unique and historical?
Most people who live here in Tampa know about a quaint area we call Seminole Heights.
Seminole Heights makes sense for first time home buyers looking for opportunities and affordable prices.
It seems that all you hear about it on the news is negative. I thought I'd shed some light on the brighter side of our "Heights Market" by going back in time to get a better perspective on the future.

Remember three years ago when real estate was really hot? You were looking for a home between 200K to 250K, and there just wasn't enough to choose from. You may recall that when you found a suitable home, 2 or 3 other people were looking to make an offer on the same place. And people were buying homes left and right. Back then, sellers were all too happy to make a big profit. There were bidding wars and buyers willing to pay the price.

So now we’re on the downside of that frenzy of activity. Insurance and tax issues have caused the whole state of Florida to fall into a real estate rut, but there’s still a lot we can learn from the boom of just a few years ago. There were signs then that Seminole Heights was up and coming: Whispers of a Starbucks being built, and a Cappy's Pizza - who would have thought?

Today, the Seminole Heights Market is priming for another growth spurt. The Starbucks Coffee Shop and Cappy's Pizza are thriving, and there's much more to look forward to, like the proposed Sangria's Restaurant coming. Now this is really turning into something big. All this and live only 10 minutes from Downtown Tampa.

Alan Dobbs, owner of Florida Design Studio Corp has moved his offices to the Heights, where he’s basing most of his projects. Alan's company focuses on traditional bungalow architectural design, and business couldn’t be better. "I think it's because I do work for home owners and not speculative developers or track home builders," says Alan. Alan also noted, "even though there has been a downturn in the real estate market, it does not seem to of had an affect on people wanting to improve or add-on to their homes. If anything, I think the projects have become bigger and more substantial because people, including me, realize we can't afford to move, but we can afford to add-on of improve what we have."

Other buyers are opting to build new in our area, while maintaining the historical look of the neighborhood. If you’re thinking of taking this route, you may want to jump on the opportunity when you see a lot for sale. It seems that parcels of land are becoming scarce in the Seminole Heights Historic District as more people are looking to build from the ground up.

As a Realtor, part of my job is to pay close attention to the Real Estate Market in our area so I can inform buyers and sellers what to expect, and what not to expect. My business partner Michelle Jordan & I work with buyers and sellers in the entire Tampa Bay Area, and we have noticed an increased interest in the Heights over the last few months. Prospective homeowners are excited by all the choices they have now that simply weren’t affordable 3 years ago. If you haven't yet looked at homes or lots for sale in seminole heights, now is the time to start.

If you're going to make Tampa Bay home, then Seminole Heights is still one of the first places you should look. Beautiful and affordable with a tightly-knit community, the Heights is still a boon for small businesses and a great place to call home.

This is a picture of a new construction home that was designed by Alan Dobbs. The home is in the Historic District across from Hillsborough High School ....

See also:
Seminole Heights Historic District.
, , , ,

Rae Catanese. P.A.
Licensed Realtor
Prudential Tropical Realty

Rae started THE INSIDER REAL ESTATE BLOG-TAMPA,FL in July 2005; her site focuses primarily on the Heights, South Tampa and Downtown Tampa Areas.

Bio for Michelle Jordan and Rae Catanese Shatto

Thinking about buying or selling a home or investing in land in the Tampa Bay Area? Have a Real Estate question? Feel free to email or call us 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese and Michelle Jordan

Search MLS
Prudential Tropical Realty

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Towers of Channelside files for bankruptcy-Tampa, Fl

read full story..click on link above!!

Towers at Channelside still selling.

The Towers of Channelside in the Channel District near downtown Tampa presold all 257 condominium units, but two-thirds of those buyers didn't follow through with the sale. Now the project developers have filed for bankruptcy protection.

For a current list of condos for sale at the Towers of Channelside please contact us.

Feel free to email or call 813-784-7744
Rae Catanese
See Also: